Verification by phone

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Sometimes a Web site may require that you verify your identity by providing your phone number and authentication code that is sent to your phone either as a voice message or text (SMS).

The software has built-in phone verification features to assist you with this task.

What are the reasons for phone verification requests ?

Phone verification is just one of the means to fight spammers and prevent multiple account registrations by a single person. It is assumed that it would be difficult for a single person to gain access to many phone numbers at once, so by asking you to verify your account by phone, the Web site builds confidence in you being a real person and not a spammer.

How to avoid phone verification requests ?

If you are asked to verify the account by phone - there is no way to skip that verification and you have to complete it to gain access to the account. However, it is usually possible to prevent phone verification (so that you are never asked to verify the account by phone). In most of the cases, verification by phone is required only if the Web site has reasons to believe that you are trying to register multiple accounts towards a single physical person. Therefore, if we can trick the Web site into believing that we aren't trying to register multiple accounts to a single person - we have good chances to avoid phone verification requests. The trick is to use fresh IPs when registering new accounts and make sure that these IPs aren't used to register hundreds of other accounts (either by you or by others). It does not necessarily mean that you must create no more than 1 account per IP. You may be able to create 3, 5, 10 or even 50 accounts on a single account before the Web server starts suspecting something. There is no hard limit of how many accounts per IP is allowed, it is mostly experimental, but one should just use common sense to figure out the optimal number.

How to set up the software to handle phone verification ?

If it is not possible to avoid phone verification, you can use software features to make your life easier while verifying your accounts.

First of all, you will need phone numbers. These must be real and must be able to accept phone calls (or text messages, depending on how the website handles verification). The best way to get them is to talk to your local phone dealers and see if they can sell the numbers in bulk with the discount. Next, it is advised to forward these phone numbers to a single physical phone that you have access to. You can ask your dealer if they can do it for you. Sometimes they are able to set up the numbers and forwarding for you in their computer system, so you don't even get physical SIM cards - that would be the most convenient way. Getting SIM cards is also an option, but you will need to make some extra effort to forward them, or you can just replace SIMs in your phone for each verification (may be an option if you need to verify small number of accounts). IP telephony is something that is worth looking into, as they will allow you to get plenty of virtual numbers and forward them wherever you like from your computer. However, it is advised that you test these numbers with the Web site you are targeting first. Certain Web sites will allow only physical phone numbers for verification (no virtual or IP numbers).

Once you have phone numbers, you can import them into the software (use Data import wizard under the System->Dictionaries->Phone numbers). If you want the software to use particular numbers for particular accounts - you can go ahead and bind numbers to accounts (by opening each account and selecting the number). Otherwise, the software will automatically select phone number from your list for the account that needs to be verified.

By default, the software is set up for Manual verification mode. This means that for each phone verification request, the software will submit phone number to the Web site and will ask you to enter verification code. If your phone numbers are good and set up properly, you should receive phone call (or text message) soon and will be able to enter the code into the box in the software. If the code is entered correctly - your account will become verified.

The software also supports fully automated phone verification. To set it up, you will need to subscribe to a special transcription service, that basically does the same thing as you do when picking up the phone and listening to the code. Transcription service answers the call, transcribes the voice into text and sends the text to some E-mail address. From there, the software picks up the E-mail message, extracts the code and enters it into the box. The process is fully automated. The software currently supports the following transcription services:

  • Google Voice
  • Phone Tag

Most of the setup is done outside the software and is between your phone numbers, transcription service and E-mail box. Basically, you need to forward your phone numbers to the transcription service and then tell the transcription service to send transcribed message to certain E-mail address that you already have in the software. Once you do that - you should test that it works as expected by placing the call manually to one of your phone numbers and saying something. In a few moments, you should see a message with the text of what you have said in the Inbox of your E-mail. Once you get it working, go to System->Settings->Phone verification page in the software and double click on "E-mail transcriptions" item in the list. Select the E-mail account that you used to forward transcribed messages and click OK. Next, make sure that "E-mail transcriptions" method is green in the list and has a check mark to the left of it, and other methods are not checked. You can also check one more time to make sure that everything is working. Here is the step-by-step procedure to check whether your automated phone verification is set up properly.

  1. Assuming you already configured transcription service and forwarding as described above, go to System->Settings->Phone verification page in the software and select any phone number from the box labelled "Select phone number"
  2. Click Test it button
  3. Pick up any regular phone and call the number that you selected in the first step. Say something and hang up
  4. In a few seconds you should see the software attempting to read mail from your mailbox several times, until it finds the transcribed message
  5. Once the message is found, the software will extract the transcription (the text you said) and will show it in the status box.